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Island of Fire
Island of Fire
Island of Fire
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Island of Fire

Evaluare: 4.5 din 5 stele

4.5/5

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The fate of Artimé is at stake—and an unlikely alliance could redeem it—in book three in the New York Times bestselling Unwanteds series.

The magical world of Artimé is gone. The Unwanteds have no food, no water, and no hope. And everyone is looking to Alex Stowe for answers.

Overwhelmed and feeling totally helpless, Alex knows it’s up to him to find a way to restore Artimé, rescue his captive friends, and free Megan from her voice-stealing necklace of thorns—three impossible tasks. But could help lie with the silent, orange-eyed newcomers?

Meanwhile, in the stark land of Quill, Alex’s twin brother Aaron continues to build his army, preparing for the ultimate showdown with the Unwanteds. But a shocking twist reveals that Alex and Aaron share a common enemy more dangerous than either could have imagined...
LimbăEnglish
EditorAladdin
Data lansării3 sept. 2013
ISBN9781442458475
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Autor

Lisa McMann

Lisa McMann lives in Arizona. She is married to fellow writer and musician, Matt McMann, and they have two adult children. Her son is an artist named Kilian McMann and her daughter is an actor, Kennedy McMann. Lisa is the New York Times bestselling author of over two dozen books for young adults and children. So far she has written in genres including paranormal, realistic, dystopian, and fantasy. Some of her most well-known books are The Unwanteds series for middle grade readers and the Wake trilogy for young adults. Check out Lisa's website at LisaMcMann.com, learn more about The Unwanteds Series at UnwantedsSeries.com, and be sure to say hi on Instagram or Twitter (@Lisa_McMann), or Facebook (Facebook.com/McMannFan).

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Recenzii pentru Island of Fire

Evaluare: 4.531531531531532 din 5 stele
4.5/5

111 evaluări9 recenzii

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  • Evaluare: 5 din 5 stele
    5/5
    This is now one of my favorite series of all time! This book is one of many fantasy books that I actually liked. I think I might keep reading these books after all.
  • Evaluare: 5 din 5 stele
    5/5
    I love how it has so much description. I also LOVE IT HAVING MAGIC.
  • Evaluare: 5 din 5 stele
    5/5
    Lovin'it
  • Evaluare: 5 din 5 stele
    5/5
    awesome
  • Evaluare: 5 din 5 stele
    5/5
    An awesome book.
  • Evaluare: 5 din 5 stele
    5/5
    Love the book
  • Evaluare: 5 din 5 stele
    5/5
    Can't wait for the next one. What a great read!
  • Evaluare: 5 din 5 stele
    5/5
    I'm really enjoying this dystopian series that brings magic to the table making it more of a fantasy than science fiction. Most of McMann's books are firmly aimed at teens, but The Unwanteds is her foray into upper elementary and she writes just as well for this age group. The plot is quite intricate and I can't say much without giving away plot points from this story or the previous books, however this one picks up exactly where the last one finished off and it is essential to read the books in order. Island of Fire concentrates mostly on the Artime half of Quill (the magic side) and reveals the answers to some secrets but only leaves the characters with more questions. Their world (consisting of two islands at this point) is opened up to include a third, just as mysterious and unusual as the other. A great compelling read! The series' Facebook page claims this is going to be a seven book series! Much more to my tastes than the Harry Potter books ever were, but this will appeal to fans of those books.
  • Evaluare: 4 din 5 stele
    4/5
    This is the third book in the Unwanted series by McMann. McMann has said that she has seven books planned for this series. This was a decent book in the series, the beginning was a bit slow but it picked up pace in the second half of the story. I read this with my six year old and we both enjoyed it. The following contains spoilers from book 2, so just be aware of that before reading on.This book picks up right where The Island of Silence leaves off. Alex and crew are struggling with Mr. Today’s death and trying to survive on the barren part of the Island that used to be Artime’. Lani and Samheed are still being held captive on Warbler island. Aaron is still doing his best to take over the rule of Quill (the dystopian society that Alex and the other Artimeans were purged from). This book is mainly about the struggle to restore Artime’ to its former glory, rescuing Lani and Samheed from Warbler Island, and discovering a new Pirate Island.This book was engaging and easy to read. There are lots of wonderful characters here as well.Alex plays the lead role throughout the book as he struggles to restore Artime and take over Mr. Today’s role as head mage. He struggles a lot with the responsibility and the stress of it. He also struggles a lot with confidence, as the book continues he grows into his responsibilities and learns it’s okay to believe in himself and to accept help from his friends as well.The other two characters that play very large roles in the story are Simber and Sky. Sky is the silent girl that was introduced in Island of Silence. She is smart, supportive, and an excellent compliment to all of the stress that Alex is dealing with. We also see a lot of Samheed and Lani as they fight to adapt to their situation as captives on Warbler Island.As you can probably tell from the above, this book is told from a couple points of view. Mostly we hear from Alex and then from Samheed/Lani. We also hear some from Aaron in Quill and from the leader of Warbler Island.The first part of the book is a bit frustrating and slow. Alex and his friends just spend so much time struggling to restore Artime’ that their frustration is really contagious. I just wanted them to figure it out so bad! Things pick up mid way through the book though as Alex and crew set out to rescue Samheed and Lani and discover a fourth new island that holds a lot of surprises for them.The world increases quite a bit in complexity in this book, we learn a lot more about the other islands. The characters also begin to speculate about how they actually got on the island. I am very intrigued to see how all of these books end up tying together.As I mentioned above I read this with my six year old son. Everything in this book was pretty kid safe. This book does have a bit more about who is falling in love with who, there are also a couple kissing scenes. My son found these boring and thought the fact that Alex kissed a girl was yucky. Still the relationships portrayed are healthy and sweet, so I didn’t mind this being my son’s first foray into reading a book about boys and girls liking each other :-)The book ends on an absolutely horrible cliffhanger, which kind of sucks. The main goal of this book is wrapped up nicely though, it’s just that McMann sets up the storyline and problem for the next book and totally leaves the reader hanging.Overall this was a good continuation of this series. The characters are engaging and interesting, the world is intricate and creative as well. I thought the beginning of the book was a bit slow, but things picked up pace towards the end. I am intrigued to see what happens next. This whole series is recommended to fans of middle grade fantasy; although this book does have a bit of a dystopian flavor to it as well.

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Island of Fire - Lisa McMann

Death Farm

It was as if Artimé had never existed.

In the weeks since the death of Marcus Today, Alexander Stowe was often seen sitting on a rickety stool, staring out the window of the gray shack, clouding the glass with his breath. Sometimes he leaned his head of dark tangled curls or pressed a dirty cheek against the pane to catch a few moments of sleep when he could stay awake no longer.

Today was no different. He stared even now, but he wasn’t seeing anything at all.

In his hand he gripped a piece of paper with a colorful border, which was beginning to smudge, and he never let it go even though he’d memorized the words on it. It was his last message from Mr. Today, a cryptic, poetic spell that would fix all Alex’s problems if only he could decipher the clues. He went over the words for the millionth time in his mind.

Follow the dots as the traveling sun,

Magnify, focus, every one.

Stand enrobed where you first saw me,

Utter in order; repeat times three.

The only thing Alex truly understood about the clue was the enrobed part. Mr. Today had been famous for his colorful robes, and Alex imagined there was some hint of magic to the robes themselves—there must be if Alex had to wear one to make the world of Artimé come back. Alex had the good fortune of possessing the only robe in existence at this moment—the one Mr. Today had been wearing when Alex’s Wanted twin brother, Aaron, killed him. The robe was Alex’s only symbol of hope in a time that could not possibly be any darker.

You should eat something, said a voice at Alex’s shoulder. It was Henry Haluki, Lani’s younger brother, and next to him stood the Silent boy, a ring of thorns threaded through the skin around his neck. When Alex turned and focused his bleary eyes on the boys, Henry held out a good-sized half shell he’d been using as a small bowl.

Alex smiled and took it. Thanks, he said, breathing in the faint smell of a weak seafood broth. His empty stomach snarled, begging for it, but Alex hesitated. The Unwanteds were beginning to starve. He handed it back to Henry and shook his head. Give it to Meg, he said. No, wait . . . to Carina Fathom and her baby. They need it most. Alex swallowed hard and turned away so he wouldn’t be tempted to grab it back again. It would be a sign of acceptance to Carina, who was so mortified that her mother, Eva, had turned against Artimé that she couldn’t bear to look Alex in the eye.

Henry frowned, but he shuffled away obediently and left the shack carrying the soup. The Silent boy followed him, both of them careful not to disturb any sleeping bodies on the floor. After a minute Alex stood up, stretched his tired limbs, and left too. He walked around to the front of the shack, maneuvering over the still body of Jim, the winged tortoise, whose mosaic back sparkled in the sunshine, until he reached Florence, frozen in full stride. Nimbly he climbed, using Florence’s legs and arms as a ladder, and he swung his body up to the roof as if he’d done it dozens of times.

He lifted a hand to shield his eyes and looked west, in the direction of the two islands that dotted the ocean. Follow the dots as the traveling sun, he muttered. The dots have got to mean the islands, but . . .  He didn’t finish the sentence because there were so many unknowns. The phrase didn’t even make sense. And then the next line—magnify, focus, every one. How could Alex magnify and focus on the islands? He was stuck on this island. He couldn’t get any closer. He had no binoculars. Sometimes, when conditions were less favorable, he couldn’t even see the more distant one. And every one? There were only two visible, though Simber had told him once that there were actually three in that direction. Mr. Today certainly would’ve said both if he meant only the two he could see, but the clue said every one. Could Mr. Today have meant to include the island of Quill, too? And what about the rest of the chain that they couldn’t see, to the east? There were seven islands in all, with Quill in the center, Simber had said. . . .

Oh, Simber. A wave of grief flooded Alex. He closed his eyes for a moment. Nightmares had plagued him since Simber had plunged into the sea, deadweight. All the rest of the creatures Mr. Today had created in Artimé had ceased to be alive then too, from the moment of the mage’s death. The mansion and every wonderful thing in it was gone. Worse, two of Alex’s best friends remained missing on Warbler Island, where the Silents had come from, and Alex had no means by which to search for them.

Alex shook his head. I don’t know what to do, he whispered.

Just then he heard a shout from the gate that led to Quill. He stood up on the roof to see what was happening. The shout had come from Henry, who lay sprawled on the dusty ground. Two other Unwanteds ran off through the gate and disappeared into Quill, with the Silent boy giving chase. Henry didn’t move.

Broken Harmony

Alex scrambled down to the ground and ran to see what had happened. By the time he got to Henry’s side, Sean Ranger and the Silent girl had arrived on the scene, and Meghan Ranger ran from the water’s edge. The girrinos sat near the gate, unmoving, in heaps like boulders.

What happened? Alex demanded. Did you guys see anything? He looked from the Silent girl to Meghan to Sean, who knelt next to the boy.

Henry rolled to his side, curled up, and sucked in a few sharp breaths, as if he’d fallen hard and had the wind knocked out of him. After a minute, he waved Sean away and rose to his feet, dusting off his pants. There was a trickle of blood coming from his nose. He wiped it gingerly on his sleeve and scowled. They stole the broth, he said. His lip quivered for an instant, and then it stopped. Crow ran after them.

Sean raised an eyebrow as Meghan took a closer look at Henry’s injuries. Crow?

The Silent boy, Alex said. Henry named him.

"That is his name, Henry said. He showed me. He drew a bird in the sand and I guessed it."

I’m going after him, Alex said, finding it a little easier now to take charge than he had just a few short weeks ago. Sean, you want to get the story?

Sean nodded. Alex started off toward the gate and then stopped, turned, and called back, We need to have a meeting. You, me, Meg, Henry, and the Silents. See if you guys can find out if Mr. Appleblossom and Carina are available too. They’ve had their hands full with the fish catchers the last few days.

Got it, Sean said.

Alex’s best friend, Meghan, whose skin was mostly healed around the band of metal thorns on her neck, could only nod in response.

Alex didn’t have to go far before he saw Crow walking back toward the gate. He caught up with the boy and turned around, walking with him. You okay, little guy? Alex asked.

Crow nodded and punched his fist into his other palm.

I know, Alex said. But I don’t want you to fight. I shouldn’t have sent you guys out in the open with food like that. People are mean when they get desperate. He pressed his hand into his own stomach, trying to batten down the hunger. He knew he didn’t have much time before the little plot of land that had once been Artimé became a battleground of infighting. And if that happened, the Unwanteds were doomed.

Who was Alex trying to fool? If he didn’t do something quick, they were already doomed.

Crow kicked the dusty road with his bare foot as they turned in at the gate.

We’re going to have a meeting. I’d like you to be there, okay?

The Silent boy made a fist and tapped it to his chest. It was the new Artiméan symbol of loyalty, which meant I am with you.

Alex smiled. Good.

They made their way to the shack. Alex poked his head in and spied Henry sitting in the midst of dozens of other Unwanteds, most of whom were trying to get their six-hour shift of sleep. Meet by Florence, Alex whispered, trying not to disturb the slumbering masses. The roof was the only private place around.

The small team of Unwanteds assembled one by one around Florence. It was a strange group, since three among them were unable to make a sound, and a fourth, Carina’s baby boy, spoke only gibberish.

Henry scrambled up Florence’s limbs to the roof and then reached down to take the baby. Alex, Meghan, Crow, the Silent girl, and Carina all climbed up too, and they sat in the shade—for the moment—of Quill’s forty-foot-tall stone wall.

Alex looked at the Silents. So, your name is really Crow? he asked the boy.

The boy nodded.

Alex smiled. Nice. He looked at the girl. I wish I knew your name, he said.

She tilted her head and both she and Crow pointed upward.

Alex frowned and looked up. Cloud? he guessed. Blue? Sunny? Star? Rain?

The girl shook her head and pointed again.

Carina and Henry looked on, and then Henry piped up. Is it Sky?

The Silent girl nodded, her face breaking into a bright smile.

Sky, Alex said, gazing at her. He liked the sound of that. And then he blushed and looked down to see if Sean was coming.

On the ground, Sean appeared, along with Mr. Appleblossom. Um . . . , Sean said, looking first at the man, who was one of the original Unwanteds Mr. Today had saved, then glancing up at the roof. Is this going to be a problem, Sigfried? he asked the theater instructor.

Oh my, Mr. Appleblossom murmured, what a predicament indeed. He gazed imploringly at Florence’s ebony face. It’s not the height that bothers me, of course. I’m nimble quite enough, though lacking speed. But think of when she wakes! Severe remorse—without our gentle mage to intercede. I may as well attempt a pommel horse. Instead he drew back a few steps and gave Sean a measuring glance. Or vault, he murmured, suddenly thoughtful. At that I may perchance succeed. He brought a finger to his chin, calculating his odds of running and vaulting to the roof using Sean’s back, rather than disrespecting the enormous warrior trainer.

She’ll never know. We won’t tell her, I promise, said Sean, his eyes widening in alarm when he realized what Mr. Appleblossom was considering. There’s really no other way to get up there—I’m not nearly big enough to be used as a gymnastics apparatus. Besides, I’m sure Florence would be glad she helped us in her own way.

The theater instructor shuddered, then set his shoulders and carefully climbed up the statue to the roof, where he settled next to the others. Sean followed.

Well then, everyone, Alex began, and then he cleared his throat a little. It seems things are beginning to crumble.

Meghan’s eyes shot open wide.

To put it bluntly, Sean said.

How much water is left? Alex asked Sean.

About a barrel and a half.

Alex turned to Carina. And the fishing?

They’re catching a dozen or so each day, and some shellfish. Not enough to keep us all from starving, I’m afraid, no matter how thin we make the broth. Carina looked down at her hands. People have been fighting over it the last few days. It’s not good.

I got attacked, Henry said. He still held baby Seth, who was content for the moment to sit and gnaw on Henry’s shirt collar. I was trying to bring you some broth, Carina. Two guys came up to me and Crow. They grabbed the food and shoved me. He shifted the baby to his other leg. They took off and Crow chased them.

I’m so sorry, Carina said. How could anybody do that to you? She looked at Crow. Did you see what they looked like?

Crow nodded.

You’d be able to recognize them?

The boy nodded again.

Mr. Appleblossom shook his head. My guess is that these thugs will not be back. The high priest’s guards are bribing Artimé. We’ve lost a score so far—I’m keeping track. What boy would starve when facing a soufflé? I blame them not for joining that wolf pack.

Alex winced. Twenty gone? I guess it’s not surprising.

It won’t be long before a true uprising, the theater teacher added in a quiet voice, completing Alex’s couplet.

Alex turned to look at the instructor, his stomach feeling as pinched as Mr. Appleblossom’s heat-flushed cheeks and sunburned forehead looked. I know, Mr. A, he said with a hint of desperation. I’m trying.

Of course you are, my boy. I have no doubt. Mr. Appleblossom patted Alex’s shoulder and gave him a sympathetic look. I hope the rest of us can help you out.

I’m open to any suggestions. Alex pulled Mr. Today’s note from his pocket and unfolded it. I know you’ve heard it before, but I’m going to read this to you all again, he said, looking around the group. "If you think of anything that might help me solve these clues, please say it, no matter how silly it sounds. We’re desperate. Here goes:

Follow the dots as the traveling sun,

Magnify, focus, every one.

Stand enrobed where you first saw me,

Utter in order; repeat times three."

Alex looked around the group. Anyone?

Sky, the Silent girl, closed her eyes and frowned, a look of concentration on her face.

Carina looked out across the water to the west. Do you still believe the dots are the islands?

I don’t know what else they could be, Alex said. Trees? We don’t have any. Buildings? Ditto. The clue refers to the sun, and the sun sets over the islands we can see. It seems the most logical thing.

But I don’t get how you are supposed to magnify and focus on them when we can’t see them all from here, Sean said. And we’re stranded. Maybe we shouldn’t have used the raft for firewood.

Sky opened her eyes, sat straight up, and shook her head violently. She clutched her hands to her throat and fell back against the shingles, feigning death.

Alex gave his newest friend a small smile, impressed with her theatrics, though now wasn’t the time to mention that. She’s right, he said. The water is really too rough out there for a raft, as Sky and Crow know. Besides, I’m not sure what an excursion would do for us—I wouldn’t have the first idea of what to magnify and focus on once we got to the other islands. Even with a powerboat it would take days and days to stop at all of them. And talk about dangerous—we have no idea what kinds of people we’d face. . . .  He trailed off and couldn’t help but glance at Meghan’s neck. She looked back at him, her sober gaze unwavering. How badly Alex wished he could fix her, but with no tools or magic or medical supplies, he didn’t dare risk trying. He wondered if she’d ever be able to speak again. Or sing.

They discussed the clue at length, with the best suggestion coming from Mr. Appleblossom, who wondered aloud if one could see the other six islands in the chain from the top of the wall, and if so, perhaps there was a pattern to be found by viewing all of them at once.

Okay, Alex said, but how do we get up there?

I guess I’ll get to work building a ladder, Sean said.

Out of what? Henry asked, incredulous. We don’t have any wood or metal, just a few barrels . . . 

Sean glanced down at Florence, his jaw set, and then turned his gaze to the multitude of frozen, once-magical creatures that lined this side of the wall: squirrelicorns, beavops, platyprots, and more lying stiff and helpless without Mr. Today’s magic.

With them, he said quietly. Stack them up like a staircase, I guess. And then he looked out over the sea, shaking his head. Without a solution to Mr. Today’s clue, they’ll never come to life again to know the difference.

The High Priest Aaron

As High Priest Gunnar Haluki was tied up at the moment, the new Associate High Priest Aaron Stowe wasted no time shortening his official title to High Priest Aaron. It was just easier for the people of Quill that way, he declared, and it took much less time to say and write.

Not that Aaron could write quite yet. But soon. He’d been practicing with one of the scholars, Crete Sepulcher, a middle-aged man with crinkly, paper-thin skin and the personality of a rock.

Aaron sat at his desk with a rare piece of paper, scratching on it with an ancient stick of a pencil. As a young boy, he’d always wondered how the markings got on the paper. He never imagined it was with a stick. It made him think of Alex, drawing with that stick in the mud in the midst of a downpour in the backyard. And how he’d tried it too. And how he’d been caught, but his father had mistaken him for Alex. With his eyes, Aaron had pleaded with Alex to go along with it, to take the blame so Aaron wouldn’t get an infraction.

He looked at the pencil now, turning it in his hands, tracing the ridge with his finger, down to the dull, whittled point. Remembering. It all seemed a very long time ago. But the look of betrayal on Alex’s face . . . Aaron closed his eyes and tried to forget it. Tried to stop the words that taunted him. The only reason you’re sitting here now is because of him.

Standing abruptly, Aaron dropped the pencil on his desk and strode to the window. An ugly gargoyle statue wearing a pink bow around its horn rested on the ledge, very nearly staring up at the young high priest. Haluki had the strangest sense of decor, Aaron muttered. He gazed through the glass down the long driveway, then turned his eyes back and traced his gaze along the ever-present, ever-boring wall.

Secretary, Aaron said in a raised voice.

Eva Fathom appeared in the doorway, her name—and indeed her identity—discarded once again.

Find me a dozen strong Necessaries and the most powerful tools we have. Giant hammers, sharp picks, shovels. My guards and I will meet them at the portcullis at sunrise tomorrow.

Of course, murmured Eva, but she smirked to herself. The rusty, broken-down gate to the palace could hardly be called a portcullis, but the new high priest was fond of making his things sound important, especially when they weren’t.

Next, Aaron went on, send two more guards to Artimé to infiltrate. Tell them not to fight—just create some more unrest and keep the grumbling going. It’s been working. We’ve taken in nearly two dozen so far and have put them right to work for our Wanteds.

Very good, Eva said. She folded her hands behind her back, waiting for more tasks.

Aaron turned, looking down his nose at the woman. And get me an update on the whereabouts and activities of the Restorers. Is Haluki dead yet? Where’s Gondoleery? She’s all but disappeared.

Eva hadn’t seen Gondoleery at all since the battle, but instinct nudged her not to admit that. Instead she said, Many of the Restorers are taking a rest after all their hard work, but Liam Healy and Bethesda Dia Gloria are still stationed at High Priest Haluki’s house.

Aaron narrowed his eyes at her. "I’m the high priest. Secretary."

Eva pursed her lips and turned them into a thin-lipped smile. My apologies for the slip. I don’t know what I’m to call him now.

"Call him . . . oh, who cares? Just don’t call him that."

Eva nodded. Anything else?

Aaron turned back to the window and caught a glimpse of the gargoyle again. He frowned at it. No. You may go.

Without a sound, the old woman turned and left the office.

Aaron picked up the gargoyle, held it away from himself as he walked, as if its hideousness might be contagious, and tossed it into a wooden box in the closet with the rest of Haluki’s things. They’d melt the statue down to make weapons once Haluki was dead.

Gondoleery’s Secret

In the weeks since Gondoleery Rattrapp had made the skies above her little gray house open up and pour down rain, she barely gave a thought to the Artiméans. She didn’t think often about the new acting High Priest Aaron Stowe, either, though she’d been one of his prime supporters as he attempted to restore Quill to its former state of control.

No, Gondoleery had been awfully scarce around Quill lately. And for good reason. She was very busy sitting at her kitchen table, thinking about her childhood.

If she knew how to write, she’d be writing down everything as she remembered it so she could free up her mind for more memories. But there were no pencils for ordinary people in Quill, and no knowledge of how to use them. So instead of writing, Gondoleery was thinking.

Sometimes she napped in her chair in the heat of the day, and she began to dream for the first time in decades. It was frightening at first, since dreams were not allowed in Quill, but she was wise enough to realize no one would ever know unless she told them. Her dreams were filled with ideas she could never have imagined when awake—dreams of fiery rivers of lava hurtling down a jagged mountainside. Dreams of swirling dust, of gusting winds, of frigid ice and quaking earth. Dreams of destruction that both frightened and thrilled her.

Yet when she awoke each day, she knew she had seen such things before, though none of the people of Quill ever had. None, that is, except for the three remaining droolers in the Ancients Sector.

And Eva Fathom.

Gondoleery needed time to think. She needed time to remember, and time to see just how powerful her own bit of magic really was. And so it was that she decided to disappear from Quill by staying right where she was, in her chair, and not emerging until she had thought every thought and dreamed every dream. And relearned every bit of magic she’d lost.

And then, when she was good and ready, when she was stronger and more powerful than any nonmagical high priest, when she required no team of Restorers to back her up . . . that’s when she would make her move.

Caves

The breeze came, and the breeze went away.

Day after day, Samheed and Lani huddled together somewhere below ground on Warbler Island, telling time by the breezes that swept over them—the gentle wake of Silent people bringing them daily food and water. As on the first day, the two friends remained blind, deaf, and mute, and they still had metal bands of thorns threaded through the skin of their necks, which had finally begun to heal.

In the vastness of their dark days, they created a language with their fingers, tapping the other’s palm or knee to spell out words. The letter A was one tap, B was two taps, and so on. It was a long process to spell anything of length, but they had plenty of time in which to do it. After a few days, having memorized the number of taps that corresponded to each letter, they were able to go more quickly, using a full-palm slap to count for five. The twelfth letter of the alphabet, L, was two slaps, two taps. S, the nineteenth letter of the alphabet, was three slaps, four taps. A brush of the hand meant a space between words, and a closed fist meant the speaker was finished. Sometimes they skipped a letter to save time and effort if they thought the other would be able to figure the word out without it.

Through this method, Lani recounted what she had seen while Samheed was unconscious. She told Sam of her hope for Meghan’s escape, which lifted his spirits, although only a little bit.

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